New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) and the Assembly Minority Conference today offered each member of the Assembly an opportunity to vote on sweeping and historic reform proposals. The “Open, Accountable & Transparent” Rules Reform package is comprised of 17 common-sense measures that are fair and needed to help improve how the state Assembly would conduct its operations.
Leader Kolb introduced the reform proposals last week at a press conference following decades of abuse of power by some elected officials in the state legislature.
The 17 measures were defeated, with an overwhelming number of Assembly Majority members voting no. With an opportunity to truly shake up Assembly operations following a string of corruption scandals in Albany, Leader Kolb expressed disappointment in the Assembly Majority for failing to enact these meaningful reforms. Leader Kolb has been a longtime advocate of openness and increased accountability in the state legislature.
“By rejecting these reforms, the Assembly Democrats are rejecting changing Albany for the better,” said Leader Kolb. “Following his election to lead the chamber, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stated, ‘through reform and action we will change this cynicism into trust’. Today, when given the opportunity to prove they wanted to rebuild that trust, Assembly Democrats voted instead to keep the cynicism that has unfortunately become synonymous with the state Assembly.”
“Our proposals would have been a positive step toward earning back the public’s trust. It’s unacceptable that Assembly Majority members voted instead to keep the status-quo that has led to abuse of power and corruption within the state legislature for decades. Voting against these common-sense proposals demonstrates their lack of urgency in reforming state government and sends the worst possible message to New Yorkers.”
Leader Kolb and the Assembly Minority Conference stated the seventeen reform proposals would bring greater accountability, fairness and transparency to state Assembly operations. Included in the plan are proposals to:
- Enact eight-year term limits for Legislative Leaders;
- Enact eight-year term limits on Speaker of the Assembly;
- Televise standing committee meetings, record all committee meetings and make them available on the Assembly website;
- Allow each member of the Assembly to have at least one substantive piece of legislation move from committee and brought to the Assembly for a vote; and
- Enact eight-year term limits for committee Chairpersons.
“Today was an unfortunate missed opportunity for the Assembly Majority to join our conference in a show of bipartisanship and pass meaningful reforms that New Yorkers expect and deserve,” Leader Kolb concluded.